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Thackwell v Barclays Bank Plc [1986] 1 All ER 676

The Claimant claimed damages from the Defendant bank for negligence and conversion of a cheque by the bank. Defendant raised ex turpi causa on the ground that the cheque formed part of a fraudulent scheme of which the Claimant was aware.


The Claimant's action was unsuccessful as he was aware of the fraud. Hutchison J set the public conscience test:

"... the court looking at the quality of the illegality relied on by the defendant and all the surrounding circumstances, without fine distinctions, and seeking to answer two questions: first, whether there had been illegality of which the court should take notice and, second, whether in all the circumstances it would be an affront to the public conscience if by affording him the relief sought the court was seen to be indirectly assisting or encouraging the plaintiff in his criminal act."
Back to lecture outline on ex turpi causa